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The Roaches

July 20, 2016

We bought a house. The house was occupied by unforeseen tenants whom we met the night we got the keys. Swarming, crawling the walls, threatening to climb even on our persons, making their dominance known.

The joy of buying a home is lessened by a cockroach infestation.

My mother instinct went into a very primitive mode; “Unsafe” it yelled, drowning out all logic and my number one concern became killing the roaches. I saw two choices in front of me: kill them all by dismantling the kitchen which was the main source of the problem or burn the house down. Since we had nowhere else to live, the kitchen was dismantled. Three days of work.

In the face of something hard, work seems to present itself in a way that is unavoidable.

Tyler took his life. Work. Work to breath. 

The bigger the problem, the more work there is to do and there is no bravery in this work because the option not to do it isn’t there. You must do the work.

Breath. Just breath. Take air in. Pull it past the rising lump in your throat. Expand your chest for the air even though the weight of your broken heart makes it so heavy that lifting your chest is the most work you have ever done. Now push it out. Do that again. You must do this work.

In a frantic, instinct driven panic, I cleaned. I cleaned and killed. There were many, many roaches. More than I could have handled in any normal state. I hate bugs….all bugs….but I particularly hate roaches. I could not live in a house with roaches. My kids cannot be in a house with roaches. I must keep my kids safe. I can keep them safe if I kill all the roaches.

Linnea is missing. I must keep my kids safe. I must keep my heart safe. I’m so scared. Find her. Do the work. Find her and feel safe again.

I pulled every cabinet and appliance outside and dismantled and cleaned them. Roaches ran out each time I opened a door. In any other state, I would have refused to do this work, but the choice wasn’t there. I didn’t stop. I didn’t eat. I lost 5 pounds. Three days of cleaning out roaches.

The nest was behind the cabinets. A cockroach nest in my kitchen. The worst thing you can imagine.

Not the worst thing I can imagine though. The worst thing I can imagine is not knowing where my child is. There is a feeling of panic when I can’t find them for a moment at the park. It is the most fear I have ever felt. For 10 weeks, Linnea’s mom lived that fear, day in and out. That is the worst thing I can imagine.

In that three days though, I the work had produced a result. They were gone. Safety returned. We could move in. Nothing was packed because I had spent all my packing time battling roaches, but there was a sweet relief in knowing the job was done. The worst was over. Safety could return. That work was done.

The work for Tyler and Linnea doesn’t end. Grief is so much work. It hangs like a heavy blanket on my soul. I cannot pray or sing to God without tears because in the deep parts, I am fear and grief and God sees the deep parts. I need to feel like my children are safe but I cannot because Tyler and Linnea. My need to protect my children cannot be satisfied. 

The work to dispel the roaches is over. We love our new home.

Other work continues.





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